PHOENIX – Just think where the Seahawks would be without Paul Allen.
They might still be playing in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, but they likely would not be doing it as the Seattle Seahawks.
Monday is the 19th anniversary of that infamous day in 1996 when former owner Ken Behring announced he was moving the franchise to Southern California, the first step that eventually led to Allen buying the Seahawks – saving the Seahawks.
And now, here they are – the Seattle Seahawks – playing in back-to-back Super Bowls. And they're doing it against the last team to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies, the New England Patriots.
So this seems likes the appropriate time to give Allen his due for something that has been long overdue. Those at CenturyLink Field for the NFC Championship game two weeks ago got to holler "thank you" as Allen raised the 12 Flag above the south end zone for the second consecutive season. But there obviously are more 12s than the record crowd 68,538 that packed the place to see the Seahawks spin some pigskin magic in pulling out a victory over the Green Bay Packers.
In a league dominated by high-profile personalities, Allen is like the owner behind the curtain – the wizard at odds, if you will.
During his joint press conference with Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Friday, Pete Carroll talked about the way that Allen's style of ownership has been vital to how he and general manager John Schneider have been allowed to build this team.
Photos of Seahawks owner Paul Allen raising the 12 Flag for the 12s before the NFC Championship game.
"We couldn't be blessed with a better situation," Carroll said. "Paul has done nothing but support us, clear the path for us and give us the opportunity to not just do the job but also to feel the support of how it's going. He stays with us on a regular basis. He knows what's going on all the time. He's been a great resource for us. Not everybody knows, but he's a great fan. He loves the game. He loves to see his community feel in connection with our team.
"He's meant so much to the Northwest. He's such a tremendous philanthropist. For him to feel really a good part of this, we're blessed. We're very grateful."
Allen is often around. At games. At practices. During the NFL Draft. But he's always behind the scenes, rather than turning the event into a scene. Just what does the success of the Seahawks mean to the man who also owns the Portland Trail Blazers and is using the billions he has made to fund trailblazing projects and other philanthropic venues? I had the opportunity to ask him that in the locker room at MetLife Stadium after last year's Super Bowl, before the place went bonkers.
"It means I won't have to read any more stories about how many combined seasons I've been an owner of professional sports franchises without winning a championship," he said.